Hon. John M. Taylor, one of Henderson County's most gifted and popular sons, and congressman of the Eighth Congressional District, was born May 18, 1836, a son of Jesse and Mary (May) Taylor. The father was born in Virginia in 1790, was of English-Irish extraction; when quite a small boy, with his mother, left his native State and moved near Lancaster, Ky. In after years he was cashier of a bank in Shelbyville, Bedford Co., Tenn. At the time of his marriage he was living in Madison County; in 1834 became a resident of Henderson County; the following year was appointed by the court as clerk of the county court, and afterward elected by the people to the same position, which he retained until 1859. His death occurred in 1880, and the county lost one of its worthiest and most esteemed men. Mr. Taylor was twice married; the first time to Miss Lyda Williams, by whom he had four children, all living; the second union was with Miss Mary May, by whom there are two children living, one of whom is the subject of this sketch. The latter was educated in the academy at Lexington and Union University of Murfreesborn; in 1858 he began the study of law, reading with Maj. A. O. Shrewsbery, of Lexington, later attending the law department of the Cumberland University, at Lebanon, Tenn., where he graduated with honor in 1800. Upon his return home he began the practice of his chosen profession, which received an interruption in a short time by the outbreak of the civil war. In 1861 he enlisted in Company K, Seventy-seventh Regiment. Tennessee Infantry, and assisting in its organization, was elected first lieutenant. He took active part in the battles of Shiloh, Perryville, Franklin and Nashville. His thigh bone was broken by a ball, the wound being so severe that he was disabled for a year, during which time he was in the hospital at Harrisburg, Ky. He was taken prisoner at Danville, Ky., and carried to Camp Chase, Ohio; after his release he joined his company at Dalton, Ga., and was immediately elected captain at the reorganization of the company. After the battle of Shiloh he was promoted to the rank of major for his undaunted and gallant service. After the restoration of peace he returned home and resumed the practice of law, meeting with marked success.
In 1864 he married Miss Amanda McHaney, an estimable lady of Henderson County, born in 1845, a daughter of W. C. McHaney, one of the best known and most respected residents of the section. Maj. and Mrs. Taylor have three children living: Mary Lou, William and Daisy A. Mrs. Taylor is a true Christian woman and consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. In 1869 Capt. Taylor was elected mayor of Lexington, serving one year; the same year was made a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, which held its meeting in 1870; the August of 1870 became attorney-general of the Eleventh Judicial District, which place he held for eight years, winning many laurels and much renown. In 1880 was a delegate to the National Convention at Cincinnati; the same year was elected to the Legislature to fill the unexpired term of Dr. Murray; in 1882 was elected congressman of the Eighth Congressional District. receiving a plurality of 2,820 — his opponent was S. C. Hawkins. Capt. Taylor was one of the committee on postoffice, post-roads and expenditure in the war department; in 1884 was re-elected and was chairman of the naval department, also one of a committee of five who prepared the appropriations on postal service. He is a Mason, belonging to Lodge No. 64 (a Council Mason); a member of the K. of H., at Jackson; of I. O. O. F., at Lexington, and has taken all of the degrees of that order; and is also one of the A. O. U. W. Mr. Taylor is a man of brilliancy, high mental and moral standing, who has always had the Interests of his county and people at heart.
Goodspeeds History of Tennessee